Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Little Fight from the Thrashers

After a seven-game losing streak that looked like it had killed their season (and possibly the jobs of Bob Hartley and/or Don Waddell,) the Thrashers had a big week leading up to the Olympic break, winning three out of four, including big wins on the road against Ottawa and Montreal that were headlined by great play by Kari Lehtonen. When the Thrashers were starting their collection of opening acts and roadies in goal earlier in the year, they positively could not win games in which they failed to score four goals. In the last two games, which were dubbed must-win by the hardy few members of the Atlanta media who pay attention to our local hockey collective, the Thrashers have scored a whopping three goals in regulation, but they've taken four points nonetheless.

So now, we go into a 17-day hibernation period, hoping that all of our playres come back from Turin healthy, and then we start the 24-game, 49-day sprint to the finish. Anything is possible with this team, as they've played significant stretches where they've been damn-near unbeatable, along with stretches in which they would have struggled to take a point off of the Damian Rhodes-Hnat Domenichelli-Denny Lambert Thrasher teams from the franchise's infancy. They're two points behind the Canadiens, who have two games in hand, and a point behind the Maple Leafs, who have one game in hand. There's no much time remaining in the season that there's no reason to panic, but another wretched stretch will mean that Philips Arena will still be playoff-less (excluding the Georgia Force.)


LD said...

Oddly, I think the fact that other teams (Montreal and Toronto) have a game or two in hand may end up helping the Thrashers. More games in the crowded fixture calendar means a little more travel, more chances for injury, etc. This year there's an advantage to playing the games earlier (though you want to win those games). Will such a small thing allow the Thrashers to close the gap? Probably not, but little things sometimes help out.

Michael said...

They're also older teams, which means they might struggle more down the stretch. Frankly, I think the Thrashers are more talented than either the Leafs or the Habs, especially when Kari is healthy and playing well, but the Thrashers' tendency to go in the tank for long stretches is worrisome. I also don't love the Thrashers' defensive corps; that's the major area that needs an upgrade in the future. Braydon Coburn, please get better.